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BB&T Closes National Penn Deal: What's in the Cards Now?

BB&T Corporation BBT has completed the deal to buy Allentown, PA-based National Penn Bancshares Inc. (effective Apr 1) on the heels of the closure of Swett & Crawford acquisition. The announcement of this $1.8 billion worth stock-and-cash transaction was made by the bank in August last year.

The core banking systems conversion as well as signage and account changes for the customers will be completed by the early third quarter of 2016. BB&T’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Kelly S. King said, “We are pleased to complete this strategic transaction and excited to welcome our new shareholders, clients and associates to BB&T. As we move toward systems conversion, our clients will continue to receive the same level of outstanding client service from the same bankers they know so well.”

With 126 banking offices in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Maryland, the deal will further expand BB&T’s footprints in the Mid-Atlantic region and enhance its deposit market share to No.4 in Pennsylvania. As of Dec 31, 2015, National Penn had $9.6 billion in assets and $6.7 billion in deposits.

Earlier, BB&T had announced its intention to create a fourth community banking region in northern Pennsylvania, headquartered in Allentown. National Penn's chief banking officer, David B. Kennedy is to be named the president of the region. Further, National Penn President and CEO, Scott V. Fainor will become group executive and oversee several community banking regions with deposits of nearly $40 billion in Pennsylvania and adjoining states.

Road Ahead

Besides the Swett & Crawford acquisition, BB&T also closed two major deals over the past year. The company acquired Bank of Kentucky in Jun 2015 and Susquehanna in Aug 2015. These acquisitions have significantly aided the company’s financials.

BB&T expects National Penn deal to be accretive to its earnings in the first full year (excluding one-time charges). While the company will incur $100 million as pre-tax merger and integration costs, it expects to achieve cost savings of $65 million annually. Notably, the company divulged that overlapping banking branches between Susquehanna and National Penn will lead to the closing of 25 branches and corresponding back office job cuts.

BB&T funded the two recent acquisitions from the cash allocated to its share repurchases under 2015 capital plan. Even though, currently, the company doesn’t have capacity to buy back shares through the second quarter of 2016, it remains well positioned to meaningfully deploy capital going forward.

We believe BB&T will continue to reward shareholders through efficient capital deployment plans. Further, given its strong capital and liquidity position, the company is likely to continue its acquisition spree (though on a smaller scale). This, in turn, will support the company’s revenue growth, which is presently under pressure owing to a low interest rate environment and reduced loan demand.

Currently, BB&T carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Some better-ranked finance stocks include The Blackstone Group L.P. BX, Legg Mason Inc. LM and Northfield Bancorp, Inc. (Staten Island, NY) NFBK. All these stocks hold a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

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